| Humboldt ϟ
5,650 elevation gain
13 miles RT
This is my first trip report so be nice...first I'd like to thank everyone who posts trip reports because there are people like me (newbie timid adventurers) who love to read them. I fell in love with 14ers the day I climbed Quandary last summer July 2012 and now have a new obsession. Humbolt is my 35th 14er summit.
I left my house at 0345 and drove to the winter TH on S. Colony Lakes Rd. The drive was amazing and beautiful, the Sangre de Cristo's breathtaking. This was my first time ever seeing this range and WOW, what can I say? When I arrived at the trailhead with my trusty Subaru Forrester steed and her snow tires I was a little bummed that a truck had blocked the way. So I backed all the way back down the road and started my foot trek from the winter TH. It took me a while to get my pack ready but finally by 0800 I started the long climb up the road to the Rainbow TH. The road is snow packed the entire way.
The Rainbow trail is also snow packed and the bridge is gone BTW. Now gaining the ridge is a little tricky but I downloaded the GPS track from the 14ers website and followed it. The east ridge is easy to follow once I found it. I didn't need snow shoes until about 10,800' when the snow started to soften.
There is mostly knee deep snow in the trees and occasional hip dip. It took me almost three hours to travel 3.5 miles and get to 11,100' where the trees really start to thicken. At this point the group that went up before me took a line that traveled to the left and I wanted to stay on the GPS track so I veered right and made fresh snowshoe tracks all the way to 12,000, phew that was hard work!
At about 12,500 the snowshoes finally came off. There are brief patches of snow all the way to 13,200. I used my cramp on's once but really didn't need them because the snow was so soft. Finally I could see the summit and was so excited to get there. I ditched my snow shoes, poles, etc. and got bundled up because geez was it cold. It snowed a little but just small pellets here and there. I encountered a heard of sheep and as I climbed to 13,500 right as the ridge narrows with a huge drop-off on the right I came head-on to one lonely sheep. She was not too happy with me so I made sure to not appear threatening and I backed down a little way but really there was no where for me to go. She wandered left then right then all of a sudden charged right at me and lept up and over to my right and blasted back down the mountain. My heart was pounding! Then I thought, sure wish I could bounce so freely like that.
So the final 500 feet looks so daunting but really it's quite a nice hike up. I found comfort in the solid rock the entire way but respected the danger both with the cliff to my right and the steep snow covered gully on the left. The wind was fierce from my right but finally by 1400 I summited, Yippie! Seeing the Crestone's for the first time was awe-inspiring. I feel so fortunate to live in this beautiful state with these gorgeous mountains. I enjoyed the summit for a few minutes, took some pictures, sent the hubby a Spot and did my 35 push ups since it was my 35th ascent, c'mon now the arms need a work out too and then it was time to boogie on down.
The descent to me is always the hard part. The snow is interesting to me and I feel like I'm floating and gliding much further and faster. I didn't need snow shoes until about 12,000' then they were mandatory. I finally ran into the group in the truck and they apologized for blocking the road but I thought, no worries, it's a beautiful day. I blazed on by, blistered feet and all and finally intersected the Rainbow trail. I packed up my snow shoes and ran the whole way back to the car. Mission accomplished.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):